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Tag: Students

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Sketching Students and Such

It was mostly a workshop day in class Monday for my Comics students, drawing and fashioning stories for their final project. That gave me time to sketch them as they worked, on my attendance notes. Mr. Drawing Board Belly, bedbugs, Batman and other goons showed up, too - none of whom are my students.

art_students_08

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Snowboy on Whiteboard

I taught a comics & cartooning class here in Plymouth last month - had a great group of talented and engaged kids. We covered expressions, character design, story and storytelling, as well as many other drawing and comics basics. Always lotsa fun for me, and while the young artists work away I got to draw my li'l snowboy on the dry-erase board, each maybe a foot or so tall.



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Comics Man!

It's been two months since the last Intro to Comics class at MCAD, and I miss it. During that last session, some students gave me a sheet of drawings they'd done. Chan Chau kicked it off with the many moods of Mad Paul...

Most of these are more accurate than I'd like to admit.

Caroline saw me as a manga superhero:

Chan again, depicting me as a barrel-chested knight, as deluded as Don Quixote!

Brando's take:

HA! I may technically be a Baby Boomer, but I'm not quite that old. But once in a blue moon this Simon & Garfunkel fan is Feelin' Groovy.

Chan says I get this manga-like twinkle in my eye when I talk comics. I've heard this many times before, and it's even been caught on video (gotta share that someday).

Best I can figure Sugoi is a clothing outfit. What, do they sell Hawaiian shirts?!

And you can take the boy out of Chicago, but not Chicago out of the boy. Young Wisconsin cartoonist Jei sez I pronounce 'comics' thus:

Anyways, always and ever a Mid-Westerner.

Thanks, y'all! More Mad Paul comics coming soon...?

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MCAD: Intro to Comics Class

On our last day of class, we took a few group pictures, so here's the crew from my first foray with higher-level instruction: our MCAD Introduction to Comics class, Spring, 2012:

Back row, left to right: Amber, Caroline, Professor Paul, Brandon, Aaron, Leigh. Middle row: Olivia, Rachel, Thomas, Tanner. Front row: Jei, Chan, Alice & Nicole.

I had a great group of students with a palpable passion for their art and/or comics. They impressed me, coming into the class with more drawing and storytelling chops than I'd expected. I just read all their course evaluations, and while I'm pleased they all liked the class, their constructive comments will help me focus more on where I can improve if I get the chance to teach again. I hope they learned a lot, but here's...

What I learned:

• If you ask me talk about Comics for hours straight, I can do it. In fact, it's tough to shut me up.

• My Corpus Callosum Dominant condition is a perfect fit for teaching an art class. Relying strongly on both sides of the brain is a big help to handle the aesthetic nature of art class as well as the organizational and structural necessary to keep me and the students on track.

• Regardless of one's age, we can all pursue our passion or bliss, make dreams come alive through action, and have personal challenges, situations and stresses to overcome.

• While grounding ourselves in traditional, tried-and-true methods of art-making, we must also embrace and encourage the use of digital tools and technology. As long as principles of drawing, storytelling, composition, design and clarity are followed and adhered to, it doesn't matter what tools we use.

• Comics makers are a weird, idiosyncratic, smart and sharp, wonderful group of people.

• The future of Comics is in good hands. You'll be buying and reading comics, watching cartoons made by these young people shortly.


Just for grins, our Justice League pose - heroes all!

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Art Students at Work

The latest class was a workshop day - no lectures, demos, guest speakers or in-depth critiques. That leaves less for the teacher to do. Luckily, I had my trusty Pentel Pocket Brush and some marker paper, so was able to sketch some artists at work.

Sure, a good amount of what artists do is drawing, but so much - especially in early stages of the creative process - is the hard brain work of writing and/or planning. Considered and refined are characters, design, composition, layout. Stories are tossed, creative lovelies are snuffed out, the work takes shape as decisions are made, new paths discovered and forged.

Every artist is not only in the process of honing their skills and craft, settling in on their style, but are in the act of creating themselves. Call it exploration, expression, self-actualization. These presentations and personae are experimented with, some discarded for a new look, sometimes they fit like a glove and stick...at least for a time.

Each artist gets comfy with how they like to work: tools, environment, trappings, habits and posture. Most have a tendency to get their noses right down there into the work. I know I do.

Students nowadays come equipped with their own laptop and headphones. They're plugged in to keep inspired and entertained, to research conceptually and visually. Alongside the traditional tools of brush & ink, pencils and a sketchbook is a tangle of cords, and a slick screen.

A relaxed posture can belie a confused creative mind. Those somewhat scruffy-lookin' can have the most ordered thoughts and/or work spaces. Some that appear more together can be most disorganized or work away amidst chaos. I've been all of these and more.

Drawing/writing/creating is part what we see, part what we know. We observe the people and world around us, filter it through our selves, our personality and sensibilities to capture truth, perhaps create new worlds. We explore, test an idea there, make a mark here, feeling things out tentatively, striking out boldly in an effort to convey and connect.